Studying Stigma

Smoking research

Smoking research

Video by Joe O'Neill

Student researchers explore the stigmas of smoking with Professor of Psychology Marie Helweg-Larsen

Two students recently had the opportunity to study psychology beyond the classroom by researching a unique aspect of cigarette smoking with Professor of Psychology Marie Helweg-Larsen.

“We hope to strengthen our understanding of how being stigmatized can make smokers more or less interested in quitting, or in starting to smoke in the first place,” says Helweg-Larsen of the study, made possible by a three-year $330,176 grant from the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health. “My students will get invaluable opportunities to participate directly in research, which the National Institutes of Health is hoping will add competent and capable students to the STEM [science, technology, engineering, mathematics] fields [and] into future research careers.”

Mary Taylor Goeltz '18 and Calla Pritulsky '18, both psychology majors, will help Helweg-Larsen with the study, which will examine the ways in which smokers in the U.S. and Denmark view their own identities as smokers and how others’ perceptions affect their thoughts and smoking behaviors. Helweg-Larsen sees the study as a tool for understanding health-related behaviors and as a foundation for interventions and cessation initiatives.

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Published May 2, 2016